Oosthuizen stands tall on day three
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2010 British Open | Round Three | 18 Jul 2010
Louis Oosthuizen sleeps on a substantial Open Championship lead this evening after his third round of 69, on a once again demanding St Andrews, left him four shots clear of Englishman Paul Casey.
It is not so much the lead that he has built but the manner in which he played and handled himself on day three that has established a growing list of believers in the 27 year old’s capacity to finish the job in tomorrow’s final round.
After a shaky three putt start to his round, when he recorded one of only four bogeys in the event thus far, Oosthuizen was rock solid for the remainder of a day where winds gusted to 30 mph before abating significantly as round three drew to a close.
Importantly he safely negotiated St Andrews difficult finish, allowing himself the luxury of a cushion for what will be, either way, the day of his life tomorrow. A birdie at the 16th after a 40 foot doubling breaking putt was followed by two excellent shots to the dangerous 17th for par and a brilliant tee shot at the last to set up one final two putt birdie.
The tee shot at the last told a lot about Oosthuizen’s capacity to continue his amazing run tomorrow. It was arguably one of his best swings of the day and finished 25 feet beyond the hole at the reachable par four. When he safely two putted for birdie he had sent a message to not only his nearest pursuer but to the golfing world that this was a man who is not likely to be unnerved by the position he has created.
Further highlighting Oosthuizen’s amazing week are his stats over the opening three rounds. He has missed only six of 48 fairways, and seven of 54 greens.
After a great day on the greens on Thursday he has not been quite as good with his putter over the last two days but he has been very solid. Given the quality of his ball striking and strategies he has not needed to be. He has only the one three putt in the opening 54 holes and on the large greens of St Andrews that is some statistic.
Casey was also superb making his move on the opening nine. He birdied five of the first nine holes to be out in 31 and at that point had moved within one of the lead. He was unable to make any further progress but he avoided any damage on the way in and although he lost ground to the leader over the final stages he will be aware of the opportunity he has created for his first major title.
A missed and very makeable birdie chance at the last might well prove costly over the closing stages tomorrow but he is well positioned to capitalise on any stumbles by the leader.
Casey has a three shot buffer over Martin Kaymer and four over Henrik Stenson, Alejandro Canizares and Lee Westwood. The chances of Kaymer and those sharing third are not yet forlorn although they will likely need rounds in the mid 60’s and a little help from Oosthuizen and Casey if they are to have any chance.
Dustin Johnson moved into outright 7th position with a round of 69 and has an outside chance tomorrow to go some way towards erasing the memories of his Pebble Beach implosion. He would need a round of 66 or better it would seem if he was to have any chance.
The leading Australian is Adam Scott at 2 under. Scott recovered from an awful start when he dropped three shots in his opening four holes for a round of even par. He is in a share of 26th position and just one ahead of Robert Allenby who is at 1 under and in a share 38th.
Marc Leishman is at even par, John Senden at 1 over, Peter Senior at 2 over and Jason Day at 4 over.
Melbourne based Korean Jeong Jin has been one of the talking points of the Championship. He set up a potentially grandstand finish today when his tee shot at the last finished 4 feet from the hole but he was unable to convert for eagle.
Still, the recently crowned British Amateur Champions has impressed all and he has done his future professional career a lot of good with the profile he has created. He is in 12th position at 4 under and as the only amateur to make the cut will add the Championship Silver Medal to his British Amateur title. To say the least it has been a great British campaign.